Rome, June 10 (IANS) At 17, Cristiano Ronaldo was “best” at whatever he did and that reminded his former Sporting Lisbon teammate Rodrigo Tello of basketball legend Michael Jordan.
“I had the opportunity to be a teammate of a phenomenal footballer like him,” Tello, who spent six years at Sporting between 2001 and 2007, told Record.
“Cristiano Ronaldo’s mentality was totally different from that of a 17-year-old boy. We played football and he was the best, we played billiards and he was the best, we did the weights and he was the one who lifted the most. He reminded me of Michael Jordan, a competitive person in everything. He did personalised training, even on match day.”
Ronaldo left Portugal side Lisbon to join English Premier League giants Manchester United and from then on became one of the world’s most sought-after footballers. He joined Real Madrid and now plays for Italian champions Juventus.
The Portuguese striker, 35, is a five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Recently, World Cup winning former Brazil captain Cafu said it is difficult to pick between ‘powers of world football’ Ronaldo and Argentine Lionel Messi.
“We’re talking about the two powers of world football. They’ve been at the top for 15 years. One has won six awards, the other five. It’s so hard to pick between them. They’re both magnificent players,” Cafu told FIFA in an interview.
Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt also said recently that it is difficult to believe that Ronaldo is 35-years-old when one sees him training.
Calling the Portuguese superstar as the best striker of his generation, 20-year-old De Ligt said that Ronaldo is a huge inspiration for younger players.
“I always try to improve the way I play by watching him because even in training he has a crazy intensity and you wonder if he really is 35-years-old,” the Dutchman told Tuttosport.